I'm interested in having some television interviews translated from French to English. I'd like to distribute a translated transcript.

Would this be an infringement of copyright law? If so who gives permission for something like this the person being interviewed or the television station that originally broadcast the interview?

  • 1
    The copyright would normally be owned by the producer of the broadcast, but you can find out for certain by reading the copyright notice, usually found at the end of the broadcast. A translation is an example of a "derivative work" and is therefore definitely and explicitly covered by most copyright law, if not all. As you've included the "fair use" tag, I would note that if your purpose is covered by fair use then you don't need to ask for permission.
    – phoog
    Nov 12 '15 at 17:09
  • Can you recommend a source that covers fair use more in depth? Nov 12 '15 at 17:48
  • @phoog Be careful with fair use. Fair use is considerably broader in US law than the equivalent (fair dealing) is is in other countries.
    – Dale M
    Nov 12 '15 at 19:29
  • @DaleM I'm aware of that, which is why I included the conditional "if your purpose is covered by fair use."
    – phoog
    Nov 13 '15 at 6:03

Would this be an infringement of copyright law?

Unless it met the fair use/ fair dealing criteria of the country of publication then, yes, this is copyright violation. Fair use/fair dealing is jurisdiction specific and depends on the extent of copying and the use to which it is put. Note that US fair use is about the most liberal in the world: other nations are much more restrictive.

... who gives permission for something like this ...?

The owner of the copyright - this is usually the producer of the video and is usually stated with the copyright notice at the end of the credits.

Please note that the participants will commonly have moral copyright in most jurisdictions. This is not a proprietorial right but includes the right for attribution and integrity in the work (i.e. not to have their work dealt with in a way that is disparaging). A direct translation is unlikely to violate this but if the subject is highly controversial then you need to be very careful of language nuances that may not translate and that may subtly change the meaning of what was said; particularly if it is to be distributed without the original audio and visuals.

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